The long-needed renovations to the Scottrade Center are under way. They are expected to be complete in time for a September Ed Sheeran concert. The funding of those renovations, however, is not settled.
That’s because St. Louis City Comptroller Darlene Green is refusing to sign off on the financing deal that was approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and duly signed into law, by the Mayor.
Scottrade has needed improvements for some time. Not only is it home to the Blues, but many major concerts come to town, such as Ed Sheeran. Upgrading the arena is key to the continuation of hosting one of the best NHL teams, and to drawing major events that drive revenue into the city.
A $64-million financing agreement was negotiated and passed by the Board earlier this year. The mayor signed the bill, making it Missouri law. Comptroller Green is defying that law by refusing to sign off on the financing deal. Her signature is mandated by the agreement.
Green’s only basis for her refusal is a clause in the city charter that states the comptroller shall “preserve the credit of the city.”
Here’s where I land on this issue: It’s unequivocally Comptroller Green’s job to sign off on the financing deal. It’s not at her discretion. It’s not, “hey sign this if you’re okay with it.” She’s supposed to sign it. The law is clear on that. Her duty to preserve the credit of the city does not take precedence over executing her duties as outlined in a law passed by the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor.
I recently had an exchange of comments to an article about this topic. The man with whom I engaged was sympathetic to Comptroller Green. He told me “it’s not about you!” My response was that it kind of is, because I represent thousands of Blues fans who want to enjoy a renovated Scottrade.
His response to that was that maaaayyybe there were 6,000 such fans. He came up with that number because he reasoned Scottrade fits 20,000 at most, and of those, just 6,000 fans came from outside the City. That may be a fair assumption, but what he didn’t take into account is the fact that there are many, many more Blues fans than just the 20,000 that show up for a single game.
I don’t fault Comptroller Green for wanting to perform her job well. That’s admirable. But in this case, it’s her job to execute the agreement. Please, do your job, Ms. Green.
Thanks for reading.